New government data shows extent of hit from covid lockdowns

The number of affordable homes started on site in the covid-affected year to March 2021 dropped by 16% on 2019/20, according to the latest government figures.

The data, which combines affordable housing numbers for in London with those for the rest of England, also shows that the number of homes completed dropped by 12%, to 52,100, the lowest figure since 2017/18.

Affordable housing

New affordable homes being built

The number of starts on site was 57,417 – also the lowest figure since 2017/18.

The period covered includes much of the initial spring lockdown in 2020, when most housebuilders and housing associations temporarily shut sites as the first wave of covid-19 hit the UK.

However, since then the private housing market has surged, with housebuilders quickly returning to close to normal capacity.

The proportion of new affordable homes which were for “affordable rent” also dropped in the year, from 48% to 46% - the lowest proportion since 2013/14. At the same time the proportion being built for shared ownership rose from 31% to a third.

The figures also show that the proportion of homes provided through Section 106 agreements declined in the year, from 51% to 47%.

For more detail on the figures, see here.